CAFTA: A loss for farmers and rural communities

Statement by George Naylor, President of the National Family Farm Coalition

July 27, 2005: Tonight members of the U.S. House of Representatives pounded another nail in the coffin of family farms and rural communities when they voted for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Champagne corks were popped in the executive suites of ADM, Cargill, and Con Agra: they, along with other multinational corporations, are big CAFTA winners. The vast majority of citizens in the U.S., the Dominican Republic, and Central American countries are the losers.

Supporters have promised many benefits from CAFTA, including prosperity and security for all countries bound by the agreement. However, most of those same pledges were made during the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) debate: and the results of NAFTA are dismal. We fear that CAFTA’s passage will continue to intensify the rural devastation that has sparked massive migration from rural areas to cities and across borders. If that happens, we intend to hold those who negotiated and those who voted for CAFTA accountable.

An increasing number of people in the U.S. and around the world have realized that free trade must be replaced by fair trade. For more than two years, a broad and massive coalition of citizens and organizations concerned with social and economic justice in the Americas have fought to defeat CAFTA.

The National Family Farm Coalition salutes the massive organized grassroots opposition to CAFTA. We thank those in the House and the Senate who stood up to the corporate lobbyists and voted against CAFTA, thereby truly representing the interests of America’s working people, including farmers and ranchers.

The multinational corporations shouldn’t take too much time to swill their victory champagne, because the fight continues. The National Family Farm Coalition will work with our partners all around the world to defeat the agribusiness corporate agenda of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other unfair trade agreements.